Prestige Oil Spill Trial Wraps Up in Spain

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Hearings in the trial over the 2002 Prestige oil spill, one of Europe’s worst oil spills, wrapped up in Spain this week after eight months of testimony.

The Prestige was a single-hulled Liberian-owned, Bahamas-flagged oil tanker, which sank off the coast of Galicia, Spain on November 19, 2002 after suffering from catastrophic hull failure. The resulting oil spill, estimated at some 20 million gallons of heavy fuel oil, wreaked havoc along coastlines of Spain, France, and Portugal. The spill was the largest environmental disaster in the history of both Spain and Portugal.

Prosecutors are seeking a 12 year prison sentence for the Greek captain, Apostolos Mangouras. Two of the Prestige’s other officers and the former director general of the Spanish merchant marine are also on trial. The prosecution has also demanded more than $5 billion in damages overall, the AFP reports.

Mangouras blames the disaster on Spanish authorities who ordered the ship out to sea with a cracked hull.

A verdict in the trial is not due for at least two months.